Your Baby Week 36 of Pregnancy

Your baby’s total length at week 36 of pregnancy from the top of the head to the tip of the toes is between 19 ½- 20 ½ inches now and he or she will weigh at least 6 pounds by the end of this week. Your baby is gaining weight rapidly and loosing his or her wrinkled appearance. Fat is being deposited all over your baby’s body and his or her legs are beginning to look a little chubby now. Actually, besides looking a bit on the chubby side, your little one may have dimples forming at his or her knees and elbows. Creases are developing around your baby’s wrists and neck, making it appears as if there are rubber bands around them, as the fat gradually builds under the skin. Don’t you wish you could see those chubby cheeks? It won’t be long now until you will! If your baby were born this week, chances are he or she would do just fine without any major complications. On the other hand, your baby would most likely lose weight quite a bit faster than if he or she were born on his or her due date. Your baby needs more time in the womb for more weight gain, as the last few weeks are when babies put on the majority of their weight.

Have you tried reading your baby stories or playing music for him or her? Babies, even while still in the womb, seem to like certain stories, rhymes, sounds and music more than others. According to research, babies’ heartbeats relax when familiar fairy tales are read to them and if an unfamiliar story is told, the heartbeat stays steady. Newborns have shown a preference for particular songs sang by their mother in utero rather than new ones. One study showed that 1-year-olds remember and even prefer music which was played to them throughout the third trimester. It has also been discovered that newborns become calmer when exposed to intrauterine sound such as the mother‘s heartbeat, respiration and intestinal noises. Music which has a tempo resembling mother’s heartbeat at rest seems to be the most preferred form of prenatal music. The sounds of water and even the ocean appear to be soothing to newborns probably because they are so similar to the fluid environment of their mother’s womb.

Lightning (also called “dropping” or “engagement”) may occur sometime during this week or next week, particularly if this is your first baby. Many times in subsequent pregnancies, it doesn’t start to happen until the day of delivery or until labor begins. Lightening is when your little one’s head drops deep down into your pelvis (behind your pubic bone) and settles there in anticipation for his or her upcoming birth. When your baby moves into this new position, you may notice the shape of your belly has changed literally overnight! Also, the top of your uterus (the fundus) may be lower than it was previously. You may not even realize the change until a relative or a friend comments on how “you’ve dropped!” Your doctor or midwife measures approximately how far down your baby’s head has dropped into your pelvis by “stations”. Say the head hasn’t dropped into the pelvis at all, then your baby would be at -3 station. If your baby has dropped to the bottom of your pelvis (or is “fully engaged”), then he or she would be at 0 station. As crowning occurs when your baby’s head is starting to come out of the birth canal, your baby would be at +3 station.

Your Body Week 36 of Pregnancy

The top of your uterus is beyond 6 inches above your belly button now. Beginning this week, your doctor or midwife may want to see you every week up until you deliver. At your next appointment, you’ll most likely have a test done to detect whether you have Group B Strep (GBS). This test is performed routinely typically between 34-37 weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife will use a cotton swab or two to take cell samples from the lower part of your vagina and also your rectal area. The samples are analyzed at a lab and the results are usually back in 2 days. If the results show GBS, you will be given antibiotics during labor and delivery to keep from passing it to your baby, as he or she is born. Generally, GBS won’t affect your pregnancy and most women are unaware they have it. Even though this bacteria is likely harmless to you, if it’s transferred to your baby during a vaginal delivery, it cause many problems, including meningitis and pneumonia.

Have you considered having “maternity portraits” taken? This is a great time to have a professional photographer capture your beautiful maternal shape, as your belly is at it’s most roundest. These make very special mementos for baby books, scrapbooks and even look stunning framed on the wall (well, as long as you’re at least partially-clothed and comfortable sharing them with visitors). These days, it’s probably very easy to locate a studio in your area that specializes in capturing the beauty of the pregnant form. Many photographers even offer sessions in the privacy and comfort of your own home, which is particularly nice if you plan on posing tastefully nude or semi-nude. Make sure you get your appointment set up before your due date gets much closer, as you never know when your baby may decide to make his or her appearance!

When (and if) your baby drops down into the birth canal before the onset of labor, you may very well notice it suddenly becoming easier for you to take deep breaths once again. Relief from shortness of breath is experienced after lightening because there is less pressure on your diaphragm and more room for your lungs to full expand. After your baby drops, digestion may become easier and you may suddenly have a bigger appetite due to the decreased pressure on your intestines and stomach. If you’ve been suffering from heartburn, lightening may also help with that ailment. Now that the positive symptoms of lightening have been described, we must move on to the negative ones. Unfortunately, your trips to the bathroom may become more frequent, because of the increased pressure of your baby resting more on your bladder. You may feel more pressure in your pelvic region and your pelvic joints may ache. This feeling may be quite uncomfortable at times and may be partially to blame for your “waddling” walk this week. Keep in mind that some women don’t notice a thing when their babies drop and also that some babies don’t drop prior to the onset of labor.

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